Here are my rankings on the golfing in these 2 countries on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being best.
Russia (5): There are only 20 golf courses in Russia and most are located in and around Moscow. The best golf club is the Jack Nicklaus designed Tseleevo Golf and Polo Club. The inaugural Russian Open and first ever European Tour event played in Russia was held at Tseleevo in 2013
Thailand (7): Thailand has 280 golf courses and many have won numerous “best of” awards including Black Mountain Golf Club (100 Best Courses Outside the USA, Golf Digest 2012) and Thai Country Club (Best clubhouse in Asia, Asian Golf Monthly, numerous years Ina row).
Russia (4): Service is missing when golfing in Russia. Caddies are notably absent and to date golf is considered an elitist game. Hardly any Russians know the proper golf rules or golf etiquette.
Thailand (10): Service with a smile is standard all over Thailand and the golf courses are no exception. You should plan on meeting friendly locals during your round and making many new friends on a Thailand golf holiday. Just don’t be surprised if you miss your Thai caddie when you return home and play without one.
Golfing Experience (25%)
Russia (5): Golf in Russia is only played from May to October as Russia has a cold climate that only allows for golfing 6 months of the year. Moscow, where most of the Russian golf courses are located, has a range of accommodations, restaurants, and cultural attractions, but service is generally average.
Thailand (10): Thai culture is unique. This combined with numerous attractions, and excellent nightlife makes for well-rounded golf trips. Golf in A Kingdom is focused on the Thai golf experience. My favorite activity after golf is a $10 US foot massage. It is so soothing after walking 18 holes.
Value For Money (20%)
Russia (3): Golf in Russia is expensive. Green fees can be as high as $300 US a round. Accommodations, food, and entertainment are also much more than most other golf destinations.
Thailand (8): Thailand green fees used to be particularly inexpensive. Nowadays, it can cost upwards of $200 US to golf at a premium Thai golf club like Thai CC in Bangkok or Red Mountain in Phuket. The good news is that lodging and other golf trip costs are still reasonably priced, so that a Thailand golf package won’t cost as much as you might think.
Overall Verdict (100%)
Russia (4.35): Russia is not really a golf travel destination. The season is short, golf is expensive, and tee time availabilities are poor. If you happen to be in Moscow in the summer for other reasons, then a quick round of golf might make sense.
Thailand (8.70): Thailand is a premium golf holiday destination and for good reason. There are 9 excellent golf areas with courses tourists can play. For a truly special golf experience with a high level of enjoyment, Thailand is at the top.
Stay tuned for the next world golf challenge to see how Thailand stacks up against other golf destinations. Let me know if you want to see your country included in my survey.